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Plot: In this first sequel of "Night of the Living Dead," four people take up residence in a deserted mall while trying to stay alive amid the armies of the dead and a vicious gang of militant bikers. Runtime: 126 mins Release Date: 23 May 1978
A brilliant, scary, social commentary ****/**** (by LtCol_Kilgore)
Dawn of the Dead- ****/****George A. Romero's masterful classic is least of anything a film about zombies. "Dawn of the Dead" is thinly disguised as a zombie gore flick, but it is really three things. 1. A cultural statement portraying racism, angst, counter-culture and degradation. 2. An account of human bonding and human reaction to different environments, harsh and eclectic. 3. Least of this trio, it is a black comedy. Rather, it contains dark comedic elements. Somewhere early along in the film, I looked past the initial plot of four strangers hiding in a mall from hordes of <more>
zombies swarming the world, as the government attempts to find a solution to the chaotic massacres. Peter Washington Ken Foree is the strong, black, courageous SWAT team member who rises above the other three protagonists to become their leader. Steven Andrews David Emge is the somewhat timid and hesitant traffic reporter, lover of the pregnant Francine Gaylen Ross . Ostensibly hapless and useless, Francine is actually a valuable aide to the quartet. Last, is the resourceful and daring Roger Scott H. Reiniger .From where I left off, I overlooked the premise of the quartet defending themselves from hordes of flesh-eating monsters and instead saw thoroughly fleshed out character personalities, bonds, and interactions. Throughout the movie's length, we learn to genuinely love these guys; Roger is so smooth and fun, easily likeable, Peter is quiet, warm-spirited, and reliable, Steven and Francine are charming. We knows them like our friends and heroes, so when they are attacked by the ferocious zombies, the suspense is so nerve-wracking and our hearts beat so rapidly because we really care about the four protagonists and could not bear to watch them die. They started off as strangers and parted as companions. Also, it is very interesting to watch how they monopolized the mall, how, in the beginning, they slept on cold hallway floors, constantly keeping watch. Later, they eliminated the threat, dined in the mall's fancy restaurant, ice skated on the mall's link, visited the gun shop for weapons, slept in rooms with beds, dressers, televisions, and other luxuries. This is an accurate representation of how it is human nature to manipulate and survive through alien atmospheres. I found that vision ingenious. Another brilliant message the film brings attention to regards the 1970-decade. I found that like "Pulp Fiction," "Dawn of the Dead" captures the spirit of its era. The racism, tumult, riots, counter-culture, degradation are all well represented here. The film shows SWAT teams, complete with racist officers, who kill for fun, raiding an unruly group of Hispanics and Blacks, hillbillies heading out in troops to battle zombies for sport, mercenaries and vigilantes running wild, all events indistinguishable from incidents in the 70's. Perhaps the most disturbing and ironic "70's incident" in the movie involves raiding gangs of bikers who explode into the mall, mirthfully slaughtering zombies not that that is an offense and vandalizing stores, stealing jewelry, guns, clothes, and everything they can find; whereas our heroes took only their necessities. What happens next is very scathingly satirical and ironic. In between the battle for the survival of the human species, the bikers find it necessary to start their own little civil war amongst the not-so-numerous survivors. They hunt down both zombies and our good guys; a perfectly timed paradoxical and cynical scene. Just like the battles between non-conformists and conventionalists during the 1970's and 1960's, when America was on the brink of disaster, this cinematic revolution is hard-hitting, gut wrenching, and very real. One fascinating facet of the movie is how the audience learns to disregard the now "minor" threat of the slow-moving zombies a bullet or incision to the head will do the job . At this point, one would not even notice that this film had the slightest relevance to the horror genre. Instead, we fear the vicious bikers, a bigger threat, villains with swords and guns. This time, the suspense and uneasiness detonates, for there is a much greater chance of death for the heroes. I found the scariest part of the movie was the deterioration of the planet during the zombie apocalypse; how the human species' decline is morbidly presented effectively and expertly by George A. Romano. However, a refreshing sense of black humor is tossed in towards the middle of the film. Zombies attempt to walk up escalators, ice skate, and explore their surroundings, with chuckles as the result of their clumsiness. One biting laugh comes when Steven explains to Francine why all these creatures have returned to the mall. "Instinct, memory. This was an important place in their lives," he points out. And of course, there are many, many thrills and chills. This film isn't very "jump-out-from-the dark-with-a-chainsaw" scary, but more disturbing and extremely tense, because we actually care about our characters and don't want them to die. The movie is unpredictable in this aspect, unlike slashers where you are guessing who the one survivor is and how the others die. As the zombies close in, we plead, "Don't die, don't die!" I have two minor complaints with this film. My biggest one is that the movie seems to carry on forever, the way "Goodfellas" did. Despite the brilliance I felt enraptured with, I kept asking myself, "When will this movie end?!?" However, I realize that Romano could not have trimmed any more scenes without damaging the potency of his work. Also, the gore was at times just too much. For instance, the exploding head scene was revolting, and most of all, the intestinal feeding scene when a biker is torn apart was repulsive; I couldn't watch as his guts were graphically shown ripping apart.Aside from those two unfortunate aspects, I strongly encourage you, rather you HAVE to, watch "Dawn of the Dead." Thrilling and suspenseful thanks to extremely distinct characters, whose fate you hope a happy one, and grippingly socially relevant, this is a unique horror, or really of all genres, treasure.
One of the Greatest Sequels AND One of the Best Horror Films Ever (by bdeyes81)
This review refers to the theatrical cut of the film. When George A. Romero's no-budget horror movie Night of the Living Dead hit screens in 1968, the same year that had already given audiences the all time genre classic Rosemary's Baby, no one could have predicted the indelible effect it would have on the history of cinema. The film introduced audiences to a degree of graphic violence never before witnessed on American screens. However, it was the film's intense, omnipotent terror that forever scarred a generation of viewers. Although the film enjoyed unprecedented mainstream <more>
success for an independent production, the filmmakers saw little of the movie's earnings. Romero's string of box office disappointments in the years to follow would diminish his clout in Hollywood, and as such he found it was an uphill battle to fund his ambitious sequel to the film. Then along came Italian horror maestro Dario Argento, hot off the heels of such international blockbusters as Deep Red and Suspiria. Argento helped secure funding for the film, in exchange for the rights to personally oversee the international cut of the film. The collaboration would be a match made in horror movie heaven, for the end product would be Dawn of the Dead, one of the most acclaimed and enduringly popular horror movies of all time. Dawn of the Dead's plot is so effectively simple, and now thoroughly familiar, that it almost goes without description. While the world approaches a still unexplained and ever growing zombie apocalypse, four individuals-two millitary men, a helicopter pilot, and his TV reporter girlfriend-barricade themselves in an abandoned suburban shopping mall. The mall provides fodder not only for the film's well known social commentary, but also for some truly thrilling-if not terrifying-setpieces.With its graphic depictions of human evisceration, exploding heads, and gruesome flesh eating, Dawn of the Dead may well be the goriest American film of all time. The film is actually so violent and gruesome that it was released unrated in the United States for fear of being slapped with an X Rating. That didn't stop the film from being a huge hit at home and abroad. The film earned rave reviews from critics most famously, from Roger Ebert, who called it `one of the best horror movies of all time' . It instantly became recognized not only as a genre classic, but also as one of the sharpest social satires of the decade, with its often hilarious commentary on an ever growing consumer culture embodied by the film's mall location.Internationally, the film was even bigger. The movie was released in a special 117 minute cut overseas the US theatrical version was 120 minutes which was edited by Dario Argento and featured a more prominent presentation of the soundtrack by rock band Goblin as well as a much faster overall pace. Released in most countries as `Zombie: Dawn of the Dead' or `Zombies', it was so big in Italy that the following year Lucio Fulci, previously a director of `giallo' thrillers, helmed a gory semi-sequel. His `Zombie 2', released in the US as `Zombie', would become one of the most popular drive in hits of the 1970s, a massive international success that solidified the zombie/cannibal craze of the early 1980s and sparked Lucio Fulci's own reign as a horror movie icon. Dawn of the Dead is a truly stunning example of the horror genre's ability to produce works that are as socially relevant as they are terrifying, films which break free of the constraints of conventional horror movie elements and in doing so establish themselves as being truly timeless. While I would still give Night of the Living Dead the slight edge between the two, Dawn of the Dead is still an extraordinary film in its own right as well as an almost superior sequel to another of the scariest movies ever made.
Dawn of the Dead is concrete proof that extreme gore and violence doesn't always equal a dumb movie and that the two can make very nice bedfellows indeed. This film is a rare thing in that it will please both gorehounds and fans of art cinema, and there isn't a vast amount of films that do that. Aside from doing what I've just mentioned, this follow up to Night of the Living Dead established George Romero as a household name in many a gore fan's home and his trilogy of zombie films will ensure for ever more that the name 'Romero' and the zombie film will always go hand <more>
in hand. The plot of this film follows four survivors of the zombie apocalypse that has ensued after the events of Night of the Living Dead as they hold up in a shopping mall to try and hide from the events going on in the outside world. However, this poses another problem, as once their home has been built up in the midst of the atrocities; will our hero's be able to give up all that they have built?The commentary on society and the trappings of consumerism that Romero appears to be keen to implement in his film come off as being somewhat muddled, due to the fact that it's lost under the reality that what we see our hero's doing makes absolute perfect sense. This, however, is where the genius behind the commentary comes into play; it's a depiction of what people within a consumerist society would do in this situation, which makes the commentary all the more potent. Despite it being a film about zombies, Romero implements a sense of realism into the proceedings, which works due to the fact that he never overindulges in anything. Sure, the gore towards the end is over the top; but even that is realistic as it is what you would expect a zombie massacre to be. Because of his sense of realism, we are able to care for the characters that Romero has presented us with, even though we really know little about them. The audience is able to put themselves into their situation and we are constantly given the feeling that we are actually involved in the events on screen. This makes the ending of the movie more potent by way of the sense of security that Romero has lulled you into throughout the movie, and at the end; we really feel for what is happening to our characters and even though we want to see the massacre happen as that's why we're watching the film at the end of the day , we sort of don't want to see it at the same time. This kind of mind-game isn't carried off successfully very often, but Romero has it down to an art form here.The movie benefits massively from a great score by Dario Argento's house band, Goblin. In fact, with the obvious exception of Suspiria; I would even go as far as to say that this is their best work ever. The score blends so well with the happenings on screen that it's impossible to have one without the other. Some films have a superfluous score, or one that doesn't add anything to the film; but it's undeniable that the score of Dawn of the Dead not only adds to what we're seeing, but 'makes' it. As many people will be tuning in to see gore, I am pleased to tell you that this film doesn't disappoint in that respect. It's one of the goriest films ever made, with many sequences reaching a level of disgustingness that is rarely seen in cinema intestine dinner, anyone? . As you are probably aware, Tom Savini did the make-up effects for Dawn of the Dead and it is the film that made his career and established him as the gore guru that he is often seen as today. The film is also notable for a certain line that has been quoted more times than any other line uttered in any other horror movie. I am of course talking about the fabulous; "When there's no more room in hell, the dead will walk the Earth".Dawn of the Dead is undoubtedly one of the most important films ever made. It inspired a barrage of rip-off's that are still being made today and it stands tall on many a horror fan's list of favourite horror films. Dawn of the Dead is one of the most recent films to inspire a remake and, unfortunately, it turned out to be terrible. Not that it matters, as the original is where it's at; and this film is an undeniable masterpiece.
Astonishing and ambitious satire; one of the great films of the 1970s. (by the red duchess)
'Dawn of the dead' may lack the pulverising immediacy of 'Night of the Living Dead', but it gains in exhilirating, epic scope. It is one of the best films of the 1970s, a reckless, hubristic, over-ambitious masterpiece whose excess is reined in by its Langian formal precision. The claustrophobia of the first film is replaced by a wider frame of reference, including the media, the military and suburbia; although, typically, the move is once again towards the indoors.The film starts explosively, inside a panicking TV station trying to report on the inexplicable emergence from <more>
the earth of the undead. An assorted quartet - two media, two army; three white, one black; three men, one woman - escape in a helicopter used for rush-hour traffic reports. There is a sense of relief in this, a sense of breaking free from the circle of undead enclosing America's major cities.But not for long - it seems that modern American man, unlike his pioneering ancestors, cannot stand open spaces, and holes up in a building, a shoppingmall, which is crawling with zombies, and recognised by the woman as a prison. Not content with this level of confinement, our heroes draw plans, erect barriers, shut down grids. Romero pinpoints this national insularity by framing his modern horror movie as a transposed Western, with the foursome as latterday frontiersmen wiping out the natives, and erecting a new civilisation.Some might say that Romero's irony is a little heavy here - the mock-triumphal Western music on the soundtrack; the composition of the four at the height of the crisis standing in front of a sign with just the letters 'U' and 'S' visible; the glee in the gun culture, including an ersatz Western gun store in the mall the 'Red River' like beseiging of the mall by the 'Indian' Hells' Angels on their motorbike/horses complete with tomahawks. But such irony is never stable - Romero keeps pulling the ground from under the viewers' feet, both in terms of character identification, and the shifting meanings embodied by the zombies.Romero's terrifying vision is of an America turned in on itself, eating itself through cannibalistic greed, the very system of capitalism based on a cycle of power and repression in which the repressed will never quite go away. 'Night' pulsated with a late 1960s urgency reflecting contemporary social and political upheaval, white capitalist America beseiged by the peoples it had oppressed for centuries. By 1978, that political anger is gone, and America has reverted to being a race of consumer zombies, congregating around massive shopping malls like they're the religious temples of the Incas, trapped there not by the freedom of choice of capitalist propaganda, but mindless instinct.the zombies are supposed to be the enemy, the Other in conventional horror terms, but the first thing the so-called heroes do on landing at the mall is substitute urgent survival for gleeful consumerism compare with the very similar silent fantasy, 'Paris Qui Dort' . There's no way to deal with any outside threat because we are numbed and bloated by products. Reality ceases to exist; there are some beautifully surreal scenes, as our heroes make homes in showrooms.The mall sequence as a whole has a Bunuellian savagery about it, and the film builds up an aggression like the characters until all is chaos - tones, modes, genres all colliding, the 'reality' or 'integrity' or, even, 'seriousness' of the film as much in question as the modern world the protagonists live in, where even time seems to stand still, the weeks of the action compressed into the framework of a day, with the night of the living dead giving onto the dawn. It is probably allegorically significant which characters survive, but by the end we're not sure whether we're watching a horror, a comedy, a thriller, a Western, or a very bitter joke. Certainly scarier than 'The Stepford Wives'
Thoughtful if unsubtle epic follow-up to Night of the Living Dead was one of THE influential movies of the late 70's; pity, then, that the people it influenced paid more attention to the amped-up gore than to the sense of contained hysteria that makes what should be tough going there are basically three scenes in this movie: zombies attack people, people attack zombies, people stand around talking a uniquely involving and provocative self-analysis of the zombie film.The symbolism is, well, not delicate. Just in case we missed it the first time, the trope that the mall attracts the <more>
zombies "because it was an important place to them" is repeated for our rumination. But the overall sustained atmosphere, inside and outside of the banal environment of the shopping mall, is by far the film's salient contribution; even when there is no obvious action onscreen, there is the threat of an attack to come, and the clock is clearly ticking on the four protagonists during their idyll. Moreover, it takes the conspicuously familiar and catapults it into an apocalyptic situation, creating a powerful sense of displacement.The violence, which is primarily what draws people to or repels them from this movie, comes on strong, but quickly becomes monotonous as it is, the vast majority of the violence in the movie is inflicted against the zombies rather than by them, though is none the less repulsive for that ; the scariest part of the movie is how plausible it makes the concept of total disintegration of what we perceive as civilization. The soundtrack, highlighting pulsing, insistent synthesizer chords, contributes much to the onscreen tension, which the action choreography is exemplary. An unlikely masterpiece.
The Greatest Zombie Movie of All-Time (by brainofj72)
When George A. Romero first shocked moviegoers back in 1968, it was with "Night of the Living Dead", a dark, brutal zombie film saturated with atmospheric black and white cinematography and unflinching gore, which was quite unheard of at the time.So audiences may have been somewhat surprised when they saw Romero's follow-up, "Dawn of the Dead" in 1978. The suspense factor has been turned down considerably, the eerie atmosphere largely due to the gorgeous B&W cinematography is all but gone, and the cynical commentary on human nature has been replaced with a rather <more>
different, though still somewhat cynical explication of mankind, which I'll get to later.First, the story. "Dawn" supposedly takes place right after the events of "Night", even though Romero has made no effort to hide the progression of fashion from the '60s to the '70s. The film centers around four people: Francine Ross , a headstrong woman trying to prove her worth; Stephen Emge , a helicopter pilot and also Francine's boyfriend; Peter Foree , a laid-back SWAT team member; and Roger Reiniger , a rowdy and at times juvenile SWAT team member. After Francine and Stephen escape a chaotic TV studio and Peter and Roger survive a brutal raid, the four of them take to the sky in a chopper to find some kind of refuge from the ever-growing zombie epidemic that is engulfing the planet. What they find is a sprawling shopping mall that has been abandoned by everyone except a substantial amount of undead denizens. They land, grab some supplies, and, eventually, make the mall their home.As I said earlier, "Night" featured some very cynical social commentary on human nature, but Romero has moved on to what's bugging him now: modern consumerism. The zombies in the mall are meant to represent the raving masses as they flock to shopping centers to buy things they don't need. This is made rather obvious at many points in the film, especially during this exchange: -Francine: "What are they the zombies doing? Why do they come here the mall ?" -Stephen: "Some kind of instinct, memory of what they used to do. This was an important place in their lives." Is there even any doubt as to what Romero was trying to say?But don't worry, horror fans, for while Romero was layering in all his clever little metaphors and commentaries, he didn't forget the one important little element that makes "Dawn of the Dead" so infamous: gore. "Night" was nothing compared to this. We're talking graphic, unrelenting, envelope-destroying zombie carnage, complete with beheadings, disembowlings, and more than enough head-shots to go around, including one particularly memorable scene where a zombie loses his entire head due to a shotgun blast. While the blood itself looks extremely fake, Tom Savini's groundbreaking make-up effects more than make up for it. In fact, the candy-colored blood actually adds a certain indefinable something to the film, as it tends to focus more on macabre humor than actual horror and suspense.The acting is cheesy and rather poor, but this IS a 1970s zombie film. The dialogue is at times decent and at times laughable in a good way, sort of . The Goblin's score is, like the acting and dialogue, cheesy, but still manages to create a certain appeal. It grows on you, trust me. The direction is quite good most of the time and maintains a very cohesive visual feel throughout the 127 minute running time or 139 if you're watching the extended version, or 119 if you're watching Dario Argento's cut . But the flaws I mentioned are minor and can most certainly be overlooked due to the film's good qualities, which are staggeringly high.The recent surge of zombie films has yielded some good 28 Days Later and some bad Dawn of the Dead 2004 results, but no modern film full of sprinting undead will ever surpass "Dawn of the Dead", a true classic and the quintessential zombie film that will reign supreme for years upon years to come.9/10
The helicopter pilot traffic reporter Stephen David Emge and his pregnant lover Francine Gaylen Ross decide to steal the radio aircraft and fly to Canada, looking for a safer life without the epidemic of zombies. Their friend Roger Scott H. Reiniger and Peter Ken Foree , two Philadelphia SWAT team members, go with them. Due to the short autonomy of the small helicopter for such a long flight, they seek refugee in an abandoned mall. They clean the place, sealing the entrances and killing the zombies in its interior, and live a quite reasonable life for months, when another external <more>
menace threatens the group of survivors. The original 'Dawn of the Dead' is an insuperable classic. Yesterday I watched it again, maybe for the fourth or fifth time, to compare with the recently released remake, and although being a 1978 movie, the special effects are spectacular and the story is amazingly original. The second part of George Romero's trilogy is an excellent horror movie, highly recommended to any fan of this genre. My vote is eight.Title Brazil : 'Zombie Despertar dos Mortos' 'Zombie Awakening of the Dead'
Zombies and Consumerism... a Match Made in Hell (by gavin6942)
The zombies from "Night of the Living Dead" have continued their rampage... and our heroes are forced to hole up in a shopping mall. Now they have everything they could ever want, except for the continuous onslaught of the undead.The commentary track is with George Romero, wife Christine Forrest Romero, effects maestro Tom Savini and Anchor Bay DVD guy Perry Martin, who knows this film inside and out... recorded in George's living roomDario Argento's role in this film should not be downplayed, as allegedly the sequel was proposed by Dario Argento, not Romero though Romero <more>
discovered the mall and its crawlspaces prior to Argento's suggestion . Argento's cut of the film was for European markets, with the humor removed to make it more Fulci-like. Luckily, we rarely see that one. The film stars Ken Foree, who went on to do more great things, but Romero alumnus John Amplas shows up as well as his job as casting director and makeup assistant , and the DP is Michael Gornick, who went on to do directing of his own.Tom Savini tells us that a "drunken zombie stole a golf cart, drove it around the mall and crashed into a pillar". Savini makes a great biker, except when he goes through the break-away glass -- the stunt crew poured the glass too thick and he injured his knee. Tom says his work on this film got him "Friday the 13th", and one can only wonder how horror would have gone different if he had not been on that film.You really should see this one if you have not, and while watching it, drink some Iron City Beer.
Some people believe that "Dawn of the Dead" is the greatest zombie film ever made. I respectfully disagree. While it is certainly "one of the best", I am a firm believer that its predecessor, "Night of the Living Dead", deserves that honor. Be that as it may, this movie essentially takes up where "Night of the Living Dead" left off. The zombies have multiplied to an extent that society has broken down and chaos has emerged. In this environment, four humans 3 men and 1 woman have escaped by helicopter to an abandoned shopping mall. Realizing that this <more>
is a good place to hide out, they decide to make it their temporary home. It has food, liquor, guns and ammunition. It even has an arcade for entertainment. Their main task then, is to secure the mall to keep the zombies out. Once this is accomplished though, the zombies on the outside continue to want to get in. And they never quit trying. Unfortunately, the zombies aren't the only ones who want to get in. At any rate, rather than give away the entire storyline I'll just say that this film has plenty of blood and guts for the hard-core fans of this genre. It also has some humorous scenes interspersed throughout as well. And while some of the humor is a bit over-the-top, it just seems to fit in for some reason. The acting is decent and the director George A. Romero is probably the world's greatest expert when it come to this kind of film. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed this movie and I think that most zombie fans would probably say the same thing.